Reflection on Dunne and Raby: Critical Design in Relation to my Creative Practice


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“What is Critical Design?
Critical Design uses speculative design proposals to challenge narrow assumptions, preconceptions and givens about the role products play in everyday life. It is more of an attitude than anything else, a position rather than a method. There are many people doing this who have never heard of the term critical design and who have their own way of describing what they do. Naming it Critical Design is simply a useful way of making this activity more visible and subject to discussion and debate.

What are its main relatives?
Cautionary Tales
Conceptual Design
Contestable Futures
Design Fiction
Interrogative Design
Radical Design
Social Fiction
Speculative Design”

The above is an extract taken from Dunne and Raby’s website, explaining what critical design is and it’s main associates. I came across this whilst searching for the above photo to place on my submission boards. I found it interesting that ‘satire’ was included in this list being the underlying tone of voice throughout my practical work to date, including the zines, instagram posts, wellbeing campaign and promotional packs, working towards objective 4A-D.

I feel that the critical-design approach has allowed for my initial idea of producing work to stimulate thought and conversation, much more focused being designed with this purpose in mind. This approach has allowed for feedback from my target audience (females, 18-24), working towards objective 1.

Through research, I also noted another practitioner whom works with critical-design approaches, Toni Hollowell noted throughout my research and report to date. Hollowell uses more of UI approach to the work/exhibition of reference, shown below. This is something which in Semester 2 I would like to explore. I did originally plan on working on a life-size Barbie doll project which would reflect real women and ideal women as branded dolls in an exhibit environment, however due to projects developing and collaborations taking place, as well as a wealth of research I have not had time throughout semester 1 to explore this. This is something I would like to work on going forwards.

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In this vein, I would still like to continue to work with critical-design as I feel it works well with my target audience as shown to date through feedback on my Instagram account –


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I found that this feedback is mainly good for direction of aesthetics/topic of Instagram posts for example, due to most reaction to Kylie Cosmetics related posts, whilst being good for general feedback on concept and idea. However, I did find that even when questions were posed, more ‘likes’ were received than answers given, and found that this may not be the best approach to gaining quantifiable data working towards objective 1 solely, and will also need to carry out interviews, questionnaires and focus groups accordingly.

Sources:  Last Accessed: 2nd December 2016 Last Accessed: 25th November 2016 Last Accessed: 5th December 2016 Last Accessed: 5th December 2016 Last Accessed: 5th December 2016